“You’re great, but you’re not right for us”: how to survive a company rejection

Recruiting platform Joblist surveyed 1,000 job seekers in 2022 to determine how they are affected by employer rejections. On average, respondents begin to lose confidence after the fifth failure. After a series of rejections, 36% of candidates sought counseling, 34% stopped looking for work altogether, and 30% decided to take additional training.

Rejections are frustrating, but with the right approach, this experience can be used to your advantage. We collected 10 tips to help you cope with another “no” and not give up.

1. Don’t take the rejection personally

On average, it takes from 21 to 80 job applications for a candidate to get one job offer.

Not being selected may have nothing to do with you and is the result of a host of other factors. The company may have put the search on hold, found an internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another applicant with slightly more relevant experience.

Even after a great interview, many factors affecting the hire will remain beyond your control.

2. Listen to the feedback.

Once you receive a rejection, you can forget about it and move on to the next job posting. But asking for feedback can benefit your career.

“If you were rejected in an email – call within 2 days. If on the phone, ask right away. Explain that you are always trying to improve your job search and career in general, so any feedback would be appreciated,” advises Ineke McMahon, CEO of Path to Promotion, an Australian career development academy.

Asking for and listening to feedback is the most valuable thing you can do when faced with rejection. If the feedback seems superficial, don’t be afraid to ask for a more detailed evaluation. Applicants put a lot of thought into the process and are entitled to useful information at the end.

3. Don’t hoard negative experiences

If you’ve made mistakes or felt unprepared in an interview – learn a lesson from the situation, but don’t focus on the experience.

Adjust your resume so that it is the best fit for the new job, and prepare carefully for the next interview. Otherwise, your frustration and skepticism will affect your verbal body language as well as your mood during the interview.

39% of job seekers are rejected because of insecurity, tone of voice, or lack of a smile.

Every company has its own idea of the “ideal candidate. Approach any new position with fresh eyes and optimism.

4 Respond to rejection letters

Express your gratitude that the recruiter paid attention to you. This way you can build a positive relationship with the company, while other candidates will likely just delete the rejection letter.

This should be done for three reasons:

  • the candidate who intercepted your offer may change his or her mind and not start working
  • the new employee may not pass the probationary period
  • the employer has a vacancy in another position for which you might be a good fit

In any of these situations, it is much easier to choose from recent candidates than to restart the hiring process.

5. Analyze your search criteria

Sometimes an interview and feedback from a recruiter helps you realize that the position isn’t right for you.

Look at your search from a different angle. Examine the positions you applied for and ask yourself: do you really see yourself in that role day in and day out? Perhaps the position didn’t quite meet your expectations? If there were any points that confused you, the interviewer may have noticed that, too. In that case, refusals help you adjust your search vector.

6. Remember that rejections are part of the process

You can’t get every job you apply for. Become aware of this fact and learn to accept rejection as part of the process, thus strengthening your mental armor.

Once you get rid of the belief that rejection = loss, you will discover a world of other opportunities and companies that might be even better suited for you.

“One of my clients recently interviewed at a company she dreamed of working for. The recruiter explained that she wasn’t a good fit, but the girl didn’t give up and kept looking through that company’s job listings. When she found another suitable position, she was able to use her contacts to get an interview and got an offer,” writes Melody J. Wilding, a coach and author of Stop Thinking Too Much and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.

7. Reflect on your behavior

If you keep getting rejection after rejection, it may be time to introspect. Evaluate your behavior at job interviews. Are you trying too hard to be liked, or are you behaving as if the company is obligated to hire you? Remember that 76% of recruiters reject candidates who seem arrogant.

If a manager has witnessed your dissatisfaction and accusations from colleagues, he or she is also unlikely to be interested in continuing. There are plenty of other smart, capable and positive candidates on the market.

8. Analyze content on social media

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70% of companies use social media to vet job applicants before hiring. And 54% of employers surveyed said they decided not to hire a candidate because of social media content.

Do a review of your profiles to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best light.

9. Manage Your Expectations

Before the pandemic and the war, you may have set a goal of finding a job within one month. You probably aspired to a good position and a big salary. In a stable market, having high expectations is reasonable, but today it’s worth adjusting your definition of success.

According to Employment Resource, the job market has now begun to recover from the crisis caused by the war. However, it has not yet been possible to reach the previous levels. The number of job ads is 38% compared to last year. This complicates things, so start praising yourself even for micro victories: for a response from a company, an invitation to an interview, getting through to the second round.

Keep in mind that many factors are stacked against you, but you keep moving forward. Even if a job offer doesn’t come through, that rejection won’t crush you.

10. Pump up your self-confidence.

During your job search, take care of yourself – intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Don’t wallow in pity: press pause and stop dwelling on the situation. Find a hobby that will distract you. Do things you excel at to boost your confidence.

Mentally repeat all your accomplishments, both big and small. This will serve as a reminder that you have succeeded in the past and can fulfill yourself in the future – against all odds.